Liliosa DeLeon, RN, has worked as a Rush nurse for over 32 years, so she was proud when her daughter decided to a pursue nursing career as well. Elise DeLeon, RN, didn’t realize nursing was her calling until she began volunteering in college and discovered her passion for helping others heal.
Now the duo work together on a general medicine unit at Rush University Medical Center.
“I’m really glad she followed the same career path that I have,” Liliosa says. “She’s compassionate, she cares about her patients, she tackles problems, she has all the qualities of a great nurse.”
The DeLeons are among four RUSH mother-daughter pairs we talked to in celebration of both Mother’s Day and Nurses Week. Here are their stories:
For Elise, choosing a position at Rush was an easy decision. She knew that Rush was an excellent workplace because her mom had always talked about how much she loved working there.
This sentiment was confirmed when Elise took a job as an agency nurse at the beginning of the pandemic. After seeing a lack of support for nurses at other hospitals, she knew Rush was where she belonged.
“I definitely get my empathy from my mom,” Elise says. “I’m really grateful to get the opportunity to work with my mom. She inspired the kind of nurse I want to be.”
Martha Lage, RN, has worked as a nurse in the operating room at Rush Copley Medical Center for 42 years. Both of her children have followed in her footsteps. Her son, Scott, is a psychiatric nurse in Streamwood, and her daughter, Stephanie Lage, RN, works at Rush Copley in the medical-surgical unit. Within their extended family, they count 12 family members who work as doctors or nurses.
“We all seem to have that caring nature,” Martha says.
Stephanie is also proud to call herself a homegrown nurse from Aurora. She literally got her start at Rush Copley — she was born at the hospital. Although Stephanie aspired to be a meteorologist as a child, her dreams changed as she watched her mom.
“She had the flexibility to always be a present mother, and I saw how she enjoyed going to work every day,” Stephanie recalls. “I saw how rewarding it was, and then there was nothing else I wanted to be. I wanted to help people and give back to my community.”
Both mother and daughter say the gratitude of patients and their families makes them want to stay at Rush.
“Our work is recognized,” Stephanie says. Patients and their families express their appreciation with notes, treats and sometimes lunch. She hopes to have a career as long as her mom’s.
Nurses Becky and Courtney Buttrum, both RNs, had similar starts to their nursing careers. They started at Rush Copley Medical Center as new grads from Waubonsee Community College, and each went on to earn bachelor’s degrees from Aurora University with help from Rush Copley.
Becky has worked at Rush Copley for 35 years, starting in 1987 in cancer care. She now works in outpatient oncology at Rush Copley Healthcare Center in Yorkville. Courtney, her daughter, started at Rush Copley nine years ago and now works in the vascular care unit.
“I watched my mom,” Courtney says. “I saw the great experience she had and knew that Rush Copley was a wonderful place to work. And helping people was always something I wanted to do.” Becky was excited to see her daughter go into nursing, especially at Rush Copley.
“It’s another thing we have in common,” she says. “I love being a nurse, and I’m glad she went into that field.”
Although they work in different locations — Becky in Yorkville and Courtney at the main campus in Aurora — they love working for the same organization. And they learn from each other.
And as a self-described “old-school nurse,” Becky loves hearing the new nurse perspective from Courtney. “She’s a strong nurse,” Becky says of her daughter. “I hope she feels I’m even half as strong a nurse as she is.”
Judith Signore, RN, has been a nurse for over 40 years, working for the past 22 years at Rush Oak Park Physicians Group North Riverside. When she learned her daughter, Alyssa Signore, RN, was planning on becoming a nurse, Judith was excited for her daughter because to her there’s no job that is more fulfilling.
“Alyssa’s an amazing nurse,” Judith says. “Nursing is not what she does, it’s who she is. I hope that there are more nurses like her.”
Alyssa always knew nursing was her calling: There was nothing else she wanted to be more than a nurse like her mom. After completing her degree, she applied at Rush because of its excellent reputation and great opportunities for new graduates.
Alyssa has been a nurse on a medical-surgical unit at Rush Oak Park Hospital for six and a half years. As she did in school, she still goes to her mom when she needs nursing advice. They talk every evening on the phone while Alyssa drives homes from work, though the advice is for a wider array of topics, including parenting advice, as Alyssa is a mother herself now.
“She’s my go-to person,” Alyssa says of her mom. “I can call her about anything."